Soil Acidity In Africa

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Soil degradation is a worldwide problem; developing countries in particular are largely affected where many of their activities are directly or indirectly related to the soil. Human population dramatically increases where on the other hand crop productivity declines and so resulting in hunger and poverty. In Africa most economies mostly Eastern, Western and Central Africa are mainly dependent on agriculture with soil degradation being found to be a major threat to overall economic development (McKenzie, 2010). Globally, Africa suffered a net loss of forests exceeding 4 million ha/year between 2000 and 2005. This was mainly as a result of conversion of forest lands to agriculture. Erosion is one of the factors that results in the degradation…show more content…
al., 2013). Soil acidification is mainly caused by the release of H+ ions during the transformation and cycling of C, N and S in managed ecosystems (Bolan, et al., 2002). Soil acidity also affects the change and biogeochemical cycling of nutrients and heavy metals through its effect on the physical, chemical and biological characteristics of soil (Bolan, et al., 2002). Soil organic carbon is a major constituent of soil organic matter which is formed as a result of the decaying of organic materials that enter the soil systems such as; leaf fall, crop residues, animal wastes and remains (Victoria, et al., 2012). Furthermore, organic matter binds to minerals, particularly clay particles, where it protects the carbon (Von Lutzow et al. 2006). Organic matter in soil also provides cohesive strength to the soil and improves soil fertility, water movement, and resistance to erosion (Victoria et al.,…show more content…
Therefore, the presence or absence of vegetation as a cover can have a significant effect on soil organic matter decomposition and nutrient supply, more especially the supplying of N hence vegetation controls above and below ground litter quality and quantity (Chen, 1999). There has been observed patterns of plant covered land and bare-ground land in determining the soil nutrient patterns in arid to semi-arid areas (Bolton et al., 1990). In a study by Hook et al. (1991) they found that there is a small-scale spatial heterogeneity in plant and soil C and N from under individual grass plants and from small openings, and proposed that small-scale variability of SOM and N may have important effects on biogeochemical processes in semi-arid grasslands. The effect of vegetation on soil properties has been acknowledged since the development of the concept of the factors of soil formation (Bonifacio, 2008). Some benefits of using grass species as a soil cover includes soil erosion protection, reduced nutrient leaching, carbon sequestration, weed suppression, and integrated pest management (Hoorman, 2009). Grasses as a soil cover also protect water quality by reducing losses of nutrients, pesticides and sediments into water streams. The main objective of this paper is to review the available literature on effects of grassland

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